Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Remember Those Awesome Mattel Hand-Held Games?

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This game goes down in history as being not only the first Mattel Electronics handheld game, but the first-ever handheld electronic game. It hit the stores in 1976, but it wasn't a huge hit right off the bat. The first big handheld electronic game that was a hit? It's the next one up.

Football (aka Football I)
This game was the first huge hit in the handheld electronic games market, and it was released in 1977. If you were a kid or teen back then, it seemed like every boy had one of these things. And what fun it was! Sure, it was just a bunch of little red light running across a tiny screen, but it almost felt like real football what with the tackles and yardage and points. A tough game to replace. Mattel re-released this game just in the last few years, calling it Mattel Classic Football.

Football II
But Mattel tried the nearly impossible. They tried to improve on their original Football game with Football II, and they did a pretty good job of it. You still had that small screen, and the game buttons were a little smaller though easier to push, but there were some great new features, being able to run backwards and being able to pass the ball. I'm sure many a grade school kid went crying to their parents at Christmas time in 1978 for this awesome game. This game, too, has been recently released as Classic Football 2.

Missile Attack / Battlestar Galactica Space Alert
This was the same game but released under two different titles. The Missile Attack version came out in 1977 and the Battlestar Galactica game came out in 1978 during the science fiction craze that was hitting after Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. I had the Battlestar Galactica version, and to this day it's my favorite of these Mattel games. Basically, missiles are fired at you from above and you have to shoot them out of the sky; the higher in the sky (ie. the higher on the screen) you hit the missiles, the more points you get.

Ah, baseball. It brings back memories of hot, summer days at the ballpark, hotdogs and popcorn. And it brings back plenty of memories of sitting in the backseat of the school bus while your fingers punch away at little buttons. Yes, Mattel Electronics came out with a baseball game. It didn't quite have the fast-playing action of Football or Basketball, but that's the nature of the sport. And this game was still a joy to have and play. This game originally came out in 1979 and was re-released in 2002 under the title Classic Baseball.

This is another great Mattel handheld game from the late 1970s. It too was recently re-released under the title Classic Basketball, and they added a three-point shot! This Mattel game might have the fastest action of all their handheld games. It's non-stop running and shooting, and it wasn't easy on the higher level.

This game wasn't nearly as well known as some of the others, but it still provided plenty of hours of great gameplay. It's been reintroduced into the market recently, and even a tiny version for keychains is for sale.

This game played a lot like the hockey and basketball games, but you had to have it. Every boy in the world wanted a complete set of all the Mattel Electronics handheld games if they could get the, but mom and dad usually had something to say about that.

Soccer 2
Yep, Mattel made a Soccer 2 game in 1979. This is a pretty rare game, and it was always lots of fun. Good luck finding one of these online anywhere.

Basketball 2
Another rarity. I never got to play this one myself, but by the time these more rare games were coming out, everybody already had the earlier versions of the games and were pretty satisfied with them. Besides, it was the late '70s and Atari was beginning to hit the video game scene really big.

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